When it comes to pool maintenance, there are a variety of different things available to use to help keep the water crystal clear and inviting. One product you may have heard mentioned is an algaecide for pools.

But, if you’re new to pool maintenance and wondering what in the world that is, you are not alone. Algaecides are a type of chemical designed to fight algae growth in swimming pools. Algae can be a major issue for pool owners, as it is an unsightly nuisance that can clog filters, discolor the water, and make the pool unsafe for swimming. Algaecides are a valuable tool for keeping algae in check and ensuring a clean, healthy pool.

In this article, we’ve broken down everything you need/want to know about pool algaecides, including exactly what they are, how they work, the benefits of using algaecides for pools, and more!  


So, What Are Algaecides Exactly? 

Algaecides are chemical compounds used to kill and prevent the growth of algae in swimming pools. Algae can grow quickly in pools and can be difficult to remove, so algaecides can be a useful tool for keeping pools clean and clear. 

They are designed to be added directly into the pool water and are effective in controlling a variety of types of algae including green, black, and mustard algae. In some cases, an algaecide is used after a chlorine shock treatment to totally clear the pool of algae growth.

Algaecides come in a variety of forms including granules, tablets, powders, and liquid solutions and are often used in combination with other pool maintenance products, such as chlorine and flocculants.


How Algaecides Work 

The active ingredients in algaecides work by disrupting the cell walls of algae, killing the algae on contact and eliminating the algae from the pool. The algaecide also works to prevent new growth of algae by creating an environment in the pool that is unfavorable for algae growth, preventing the algae from reproducing. 

Algaecides are generally considered to be safe and effective, as long as they are used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. 


The Benefits of Using an Algaecide 

Algae can make a swimming pool look cloudy and unappealing. But, algaecides are a great way to treat and prevent algae growth in swimming pools, especially when you are dealing with chlorine-resistant algae.

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The benefits of using algaecides for pools include: 

– Improved clarity: Algaecides help to clear up cloudy or green water when it is caused by algae growth, restoring your pool water to the sparkling state you want. 

– Effective treatment: Algaecides are designed to kill algae and inhibit its further growth. So they are an effective way to tackle existing algae problems. 

– Prevention: Algaecides can be used regularly as a preventative measure to help keep algae from taking hold in the first place.

– Creates a safe swimming environment: By eliminating and preventing algal growth, pool algaecides help to ensure the water is safe and healthy for swimming. 

– Easy to use: Algaecides are easy to use and don’t require much effort. 

– Cost-effective: Algaecides are a relatively cost-effective way to help keep your pool free from algae. 


The Types of Pool Algaecides

There are several different types of algaecides available, each with its own unique properties and benefits. The three main types are copper-based, silver-based, and quaternary ammonium-based: 

Copper-Based Algaecides

These are among the most popular, as they are effective in killing all forms of algae and are relatively inexpensive. Copper-based algaecides are often combined with other chemicals, such as chlorine, to create a powerful and effective treatment. (See the important note below about using copper-based algaecides if your pool water has high metal content already.)


Silver-Based Algaecides

These are more expensive than copper-based algaecides, but are also effective in killing all forms of algae. Silver-based algaecides also have the added benefit of not staining the pool surface.


Quaternary Ammonium-Based Algaecides

These algaecides, sometimes also referred to as “quats”, are effective in killing some forms of algae, but are not as powerful as the copper-based and silver-based types. Quaternary ammonium-based algaecides are also more expensive than the other two types of algaecides.


When To Use Algaecide In a Pool

Now that you know what an algaecide is and how it works, you may be wondering when is the best time to use one. There are several instances where they can be most beneficial. Pool algaecide should be used when:

  • Algae is present and shocking your pool with chlorine has not cleared it. 
  • When algae is likely to develop. Algae will grow in warm, sunny, and stagnant water, so it’s best to use algaecide on a regular basis, especially during the summer months.
  • When you are closing or winterizing your pool and it is going to be covered and unused for several months. A humid, dark environment like that is the perfect scenario for algae to take hold without you knowing until you remove the cover.


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Algaecides can also be used on a regular basis as part of your maintenance routine to prevent algae growth and maintain a clean and clear pool. If you are using it to eliminate algal growth, it is important to use an algaecide as soon as possible to reduce the risk of the algae spreading.


Important Things to Remember When It Comes to How to Use an Algaecide

It should be noted that different types of algaecides are designed to combat different types of algae. So choosing the right product for your particular algae problem is very important. Improper use could lead to water discoloration, staining of pool surfaces, and other negative consequences.

For example, if you live in an area where the water has a high metal content, and you’ve used that water to fill your pool, using a copper-based algaecide could significantly speed up the oxidation process, which can severely stain your pool. In this scenario, you should look for a copper-free algaecide to help protect your pool surface. 

No matter which type of algaecide you choose, it is important to follow the directions on the package carefully and to use the product only as directed. For example, this means that the chemical should only be added to the pool water when the water is circulating and should never be added to an empty or dry pool. 

Additionally, it is important to remember that algaecides are only one part of a comprehensive pool care program. The chemical should be used in conjunction with other pool care products, such as chlorine, to ensure that your pool remains healthy and safe for swimming. 

Regular testing of the water chemistry and proper use of the algaecide will help to ensure that your pool remains algae-free and that your family can enjoy swimming safely.


Pool Algaecides Can Help Keep Your Pool Crystal Clear

Overall, pool algaecides are a great way to keep your pool clean and algae-free, especially for the new or less experienced pool owners. With regular maintenance, algaecides can help to protect your pool from algae growth and keep the water healthy and inviting for many years to come. 

Make sure to do your research and choose the best algaecide for your needs, read and follow the instructions carefully, and you’ll be on your way to a sparkling clean pool.

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With over 30 years of experience as a pool maintenance professional, Mike brings you our program of 20 online, self-paced videos that make DIY pool maintenance easier, cheaper, and more effective. The videos provide easy-to-follow information on how to properly take care of your pool unlike you’ll find anywhere else. You’ll be able to actually spend more time enjoying your pool instead of spending all your time trying to maintain it. Once you buy Pool School Videos, you can watch them whenever you want and as many times as you need to.

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Preview our top 5 videos to get a sneak peek and meet the Pool Doctor, Mike Steele. Then get started on leveling-up your pool maintenance efforts with Pool School Videos today!